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September 1999

OS/2 Tips

We scan the Web, Usenet and the OS/2 mail lists looking for these gems. Have you run across an interesting bit of information about OS/2 recently? Please share it with all our readers. Send your tips to editor@os2voice.org

Editor's note: these tips are from OS/2 users and in some cases can not be verified by myself. Please heed this as a warning that if you are not sure about something, don't do it.

August 15, 1999 - Having problems installing Java 1.1.8 or another package that requires the dreaded Feature Installer? Here's a report from Maynard Riley on the Team OS/2 Help Desk on how he overcame a problem with help from Steve Levine:

I deleted \os2\install\fi.ini and its .bak,
(also syspath.dat and nfpi.ini),
cleaned the inis again,
removed other "Installed Features" packages for Java,
rebooted enough times through these processes to ensure that fi.ini was of zero length,

and achieved a clean installation of Java 1.1.8

August 15, 1999 -Here's a tip for SMP users from Trevor Hemsley, on comp.os.os2.beta on how to force a program to only run on one cpu:

It only helps if you're running a dual processor version of OS/2. If you're not then it won't. If you are then use EXECMODE -sp netscape.exe to set it to sp mode.

August 16, 1999 - From Michael Kaply on comp.os.os2.apps, here is the way to get Communicator/2 to use your choice of editor to view HTML source.

Create a .CMD File:

/* IniName points to the location of your NSCP.INI */
/* Change NSDir to the directory where NS46 is installed */
/* Change InstallDrive to the drive where NS46 is installed */
/* Change en to be the two character identifier for your browser */
IniName = 'C:\OS2\NSCP.INI'
InstallDrive = 'C:'
NSDir = InstallDrive||'\NS46BETA'
InstallDir = NSDir'\Program'
NSVersion = '4.61 (en)'
call RxFuncAdd 'SysLoadFuncs', 'RexxUtil', 'SysLoadFuncs'
call SysLoadFuncs
/* Add Registry entries for View Source */
call SysIni IniName, 'Registry', '\HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\viewsource','URL:View Source'
call SysIni IniName, 'Registry', '\HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\viewsource\shell',0
call SysIni IniName, 'Registry',
call SysIni IniName, 'Registry',
/* Change E.EXE to what you want */

August 17, 1999 - Here's another IBMer with a post on comp.os.os2.bugs for OS/2 users, this time it's Irv Spalten about a potential problem with the OS/2 IDE driver IBM1S506.ADD:

We've located the problem with drives NOT coming up properly. 'New Feature' that went into IBM1S506.ADD to flush buffers more reliably during shutdown using C-A-D. Seems to cause some disks to SPIN DOWN and stay there. We do have a WORKAROUND (and we'll update the FP README.1ST file soon).

WORKAROUND: In CONFIG.SYS on the BASEDEV=IBM1S506.ADD line, please add " /!SHUTDOWN". This is known to fix the problem.

Feel FREE to post this anywhere, but I'd also like ANYONE who has to use this to send me a message (ispalten@us.ibm.com) detailing the hard drive manufacture, size, and model please.

August 17, 1999 - Where else but on the MR2 ICE Mail list would you find good tips for using MR2 ICE? I've been using ICE for 3-4 years now and didn't realize the following until I saw this tip from Andrey Lasichuk:

How do I close "trash" once its opened?

Third button from the left. Looks like a white spreadsheet with a red down arrow.

August 18, 1999 - Juan I. Cahis posted this gem on comp.os.os2.apps:

Dear Friends:
I needed to have more room in the Second Diskette of the RECOVERY SET in order to be able to install more device drivers and the FAT32 system support to them, and I discovered that after generating the SYSTEM RECOVERY DISKETTES, you can replace the file KEYBOARD.DCP (about 310k) by the one that originally came in the installation diskettes (about 5k), without having any problem. So you spare 305k!!!!!

You should be sure, however, that you have the following sentence in the diskette's CONFIG.SYS, and not a similar one:
and you will restricted to the US keyboard only, but you can map the keys easily.
Also, probably you can delete the files IBM2FLPY.ADD and IBM2ADSK.ADD, sparing another 30k, providing that you delete any mention to those drivers in the diskette's CONFIG.SYS.

August 18, 1999 - Need to know how to delete attachment(s) without deleting the whole message in PMMail? Norm offered this suggestion on the POSSI List:

There's a couple of PMMail utilities on the hobbes site. I know the utility package 'pmmutl12.zip' (ftp://hobbes.nmsu.edu/pub/os2/apps/internet/mail/utls/pmmutl12.zip) contains a 'strip' program that will delete attachments from all the messages in a specific directory. I've got it setup to remove all the attachments from my 'sent mail' folder (no point in keeping those).

August 18, 1999 - Having problems saving files in Word Pro 1.1? Here's a REXX script from D.W.Parsons, posted to the TeamOS/2 Help List that fixes a problem introduced by FP11 with Directory Attributes which causes the problem:

/* fix-dirs.cmd FP11 GUI ops modify time stamp and add A attribute to
* which confuses FF and Word Pro
* D.W.Parsons 25 July 1999

vers = 'V1.0'

call RxFuncAdd 'SysLoadFuncs', 'RexxUtil', 'SysLoadFuncs'
call 'SysLoadFuncs'

cwd = Directory()
srch_dir = substr(cwd,1,2) || '\'

say 'Checking' srch_dir

call 'SysFileTree' srch_dir, 'dirs', 'DSO', '++---', '-+***'
do i = 1 to dirs.0
say dirs.i
if dirs.0 = 1
say dirs.0 'directory changed'
say dirs.0 'directories changed'

August 18, 1999 - Speaking of Lotus SmartSuite 1.1, did you know there were updates available? Khairil Yusof posted this pointer on comp.os.os2.apps:

It's at the lotus site, try this link

Editor's note: This is a Lotus Notes database, so the URL may change by the time you read this. To find the update go to http://www.support.lotus.com/sims2/sims_or2.nsf, click on next page, then select "SmartSuite for OS/2", then "Updates", then finally "SmartSuite for OS/2 Warp 4 Release 1.1.1 Updated Files".

August 23, 1999 - I've never used OS/2's Backup and Restore myself, but someone who does asked about how to get it to save files that are in use. Luckily Trevor Hemsley had the answer on comp.os.os2.setup.misc:

There's an undocumented -o switch to backup on Warp 3 and later that backs up open files.

August 26, 1999 - I have this one machine that would never allow me to install Warp 4, without first removing a Network Card that caused the install to hang. Now that I have Aurora running on it (installing without any problem) wouldn't you know I read a possible solution on VOICE Aurora-beta List from Chris Graham (of Graham Utilities fame):

MPTS /NOSNIFF may work.

Also, if you can, try removing the card itself.

In my expierence, it only locks up when dealing with ISA based NE-2000 clone cards. I've personally not seen it die on a PCI (or MB) based NIC.

August 26, 1999 - The IBM FixPak team has been busy on Usenet, helping folks with problems. Here is a post from Dick Kurtz of IBM explaining the logic of how the FixTool determines whether to replace a file or not:

Here is how CSF determines what to replace
1. Does existing file on disk have a version string?
Yes - does new file in fixpak have version string?
No - file on disk must therefore be newer, show popup
Yes - is new file at a later level?
Yes - replace old with new, date/time not checked
No - is new file at same level?
Yes - check date/time
old newer, show popup
old older, replace with newer
old/new same, do nothing, update not required
No - show popup
No - does new file in fixpak have version string?
Yes - replace file, date/time not checked
No - check date/time
old newer, show popup
old older, replace with newer
old/new same, do nothing, update not required

The bldlevel command will show you the version string (build level) of a file
if it has one. Run bldlevel os2krnl to see an example.

August 28, 1999 - Here's a tip from Andrew Stephenson posted on comp.os.os2.setup.misc on how to completely erase a CD-RW in RSJ:

Recently I asked if anyone knew how to erase (completely) CD-RW (ie, rewritable) disks, using RSJ Software's CD-Writer. After a couple of people had a go at the question, I phoned RSJ's guru, Stefan Beutler, who at once told me how it is done. We agreed it was a little obscure (his word was "undocumented") and he was v.receptive to the idea of adding a section to the documentation.

Loyal readers may recall that during early scufflings with my setup, I contrived to render a CD-RW disk non-attachable, which made life rather difficult and the disk a potential write-off.


1) Ensure the disk is in the drive properly.
2) Open an OS/2 command line session and give the command trackcpy NB: Like "trackcopy" but without an 'o'.
3) When the '>' prompt appears, give the command blank cdr: 0
4) Wait. Apparently the time required varies with the type of drive. For Yamahas, it takes about as long as the original recording (plus finalisation) took. So go brew up a cup of something legal and let the machine do its thing.
5) When it has finished and the next '>' prompt appears, give the command quit
And that's it. The disk should now attach in the usual way.

August 28, 1999 - Here's a TCP/IP tip from Brandon S. Allbery, on the MR2ICE Mail List for anyone trying to run an internet app that opens before a dialup connection is completed:

You have the dialer set up to create \MPTN\ETC\RESOLV for you; since it's only created after the connection is established, programs which try to look up hostnames before it exists lose. This is an OS/2 TCP/IP "feature", inherited from the Unix resolver which was designed for permanent network connections. (Specifically: the RESOLV file is read only the first time it's needed by any given program; if it doesn't exist at that time, you lose until you exit and restart the program.)

The workaround: while you're online (so RESOLV exists), do this:


RESOLV2 will stay around, so you'll get an error when ICE tries to pick up the mail before the connection is completed, but it will be able to retry later.

The only real problem with this workaround is that you have to remember to update \MPTN\ETC\RESOLV2 if you have to change nameservers in the future.

August 29, 1999 - Another post from the IBm FixTool owner, Irv Spalten, this time on comp.os.os2.misc about the proper way to commit an OS/2 Fixpak:

Commiting by deleting is NOT the way to COMMIT. Very DANGEROUS way. The FixTool has a COMMIT function, and it should be used. It will set the proper service level items and delete necessary file, except the ARCHIVE as it might have been used by more than one machine. After you do COMMIT, you can DELETE the ARCHIVE directory if you know it is no longer used.

The dangerous part of not letting the FixTool do the COMMIT is that you could apply an older FP than the one already on the system, and in doing so, results are unpredictable. Using the COMMIT feature of the FixTool, there is a safeguard to make sure this doesn't happen. Section 7 of the FixTool READ.ME file covers how to do COMMIT's and BACKOUT's using FSERVICE.EXE. If using SERVICE.EXE, you need to use the ADVANCED funtions.

In another post on the same subject of Fixpaks, John Blenkinsop, again on comp.os.os2.misc recommends the follwoing resource:

Fixpak Primer: http://ps.software.ibm.com/pbin-usa-ps/getobj.pl?/pdocs-usa/fp.html
Beginner's guide to understanding OS/2 fixes: http://ps.software.ibm.com/pbin-usa-ps/getobj.pl?/pdocs-usa/fixhelp.html

August 29, 1999 - Here's a useful OS/2 tip from Ryan Gray on the POSSI Discussion List about semi automating shutdown using SETBOOT:

What I did was to create a program object for each partition thus:

Title: Shutdown and restart OS/2...
Path and filename: setboot.com
Parameters: /b [Are you sure?]

Title: Shutdown and start Win95...
Path and filename: setboot.com
Parameters: /iba:"Win95" [Are you sure?]

Title: Shutdown and start Maintenance boot...
Path and filename: setboot.com
Parameters: /iba:"Service" [Are you sure?]

I then put these on my desktop menu via drag and drop ad described previously.

I also had them done another way before:

I gave these nice icons, of course and put them in a folder called "Reboot to..." and just named them "OS/2...", "Win95..." and "Service..." (the ...'s indicating that there was a user prompt before the action was taken in true CUA style). I then put that folder in the system folder and made a shadow on the WarpCenter so that I could just go there and get a drop down reboot list. Actually, I think I put the shadow in the system setup folder so it was a second level cascade from WarpCenter, but anyway flavor to taste...

Editor note: For on SETBOOT's parameters drop to an OS/2 command prompt and type HELP SETBOOT

September 9, 1999 - For those of you who like to tinker with preferences in Communicator/2, here's another Communicator/2 tip from Mike Kaply on the NS4OS2 List:

You can only change one font at a time in preferences.

Change one font for one language, close prefs, open them, change another one.

September 10, 1999 - Need to mix SCSI and IDE drives on the same machine? Here's some info from someone who's done it - Klaus Kreiner on comp.os.os2.setup.storage.

I tried to change the order of the device drivers in config.sys but it didn't work until I discovered why: OS/2 always looks for primary partitions first, no matter on which disk they are and then for logical partitions. As my SCSI partition was logical and my IDE partition was primary changing the order didn't help. I made a primary OS/2 partition on my SCSI drive and now it works

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